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Beitzah 10

BEITZAH 6-10 - Ari Kornfeld has generously sponsored the Dafyomi publications for these Dafim, for the benefit of Klal Yisrael


QUESTIONS: The Gemara discusses selecting birds before Yom Tov in order to slaughter them on Yom Tov. The Gemara cites the Mishnah later on this Amud, in which Beis Shamai says that one must pick up the birds and shake them, and it does not suffice to merely name them verbally. Beis Hillel permits designating the birds for use on Yom Tov by merely verbally naming them.

RASHI at the top of this Amud explains that Beis Shamai does not permit merely naming them verbally, because perhaps one will pick up a bird on Yom Tov, inspect it, and then decide not to use, in which case he will have handled the bird for no reason on Yom Tov. Rashi adds that by changing his mind about this bird, he retroactively annuls the Hachanah with which he verbally prepared the bird before Yom Tov (and it turns out that when he handled the bird it was Muktzah).

Rashi's words are self-contradictory. He first says that the problem, according to Beis Shamai, is that the person will commit an unnecessary Tircha (exertion) on Yom Tov. In the end of his explanation, Rashi says that the problem is that the person will move something that was retroactively Muktzah (which is different than an unnecessary Tircha)!

Second, why should the fact that the person opted not to use this bird annul the Hachanah retroactively? If he said, "This bird and that bird I am going to take," even if he does not take the bird he designated, why should that annul the Hachanah? After all, he prepared them no matter what, and if he decides not to take them, that should not make them not-prepared and Muktzah! (This point is clear from the Gemara itself, later on the page, which differentiates between "Zeh v'Zeh Ani Notel" and a situation of Bereirah [retroactive determination].)

Third, Rashi himself -- when he explains the Mishnah later on the Amud -- says that according to Beis Shamai the problem will be "Tiltul she'Lo l'Tzorech" -- unnecessary exertion (DH Gazrinan). Rashi makes no mention of annulling one's preparation of the bird retroactively and handling Mutkzah as a result. (TAL TORAH, BIGDEI YOM TOV, CHIDUSHIM U'VI'URIM)

ANSWER: Why should Beis Shamai prohibit the bird that was prepared before Yom Tov because, as the Gemara puts it, "he might change his mind (and not slaughter it)?" Since it was prepared for use before Yom Tov, simply deciding not to eat it will not make it Muktzah on Yom Tov. Why, then, can one not handle the bird? Rashi writes (DH Gazrinan) that the person will be doing "unnecessary exertion." This explanation, though, is forced at best. Since when are we concerned about the amount of exertion a person puts into picking up a bird and putting it down? We must suggest that since it can be avoided by Rabbinic instituion, the Rabanan instituted what they could so that a person should avoid even this minimal amount of unnecessary exertion.

Some Rishonim though suggest other interpretations of this Gemara. The RE'AH says that Beis Shamai means that declaring, "This bird and that bird I am going to take," does not make a Hachanah Gemurah; it does not serve to fully prepare the bird for use, because it is very common for a person to change his mind. One's verbal declaration is not a real Hachanah unless he actually picks up and shakes the birds before Yom Tov, showing that he really means to use it. The RAMBAM in Perush ha'Mishnayos says that Beis Shamai was afraid that a person might change his mind *before* Yom Tov, choosing other birds instead, and then when he changes his mind back again on Yom Tov and takes these birds they will be Muktzah. RABEINU CHANANEL explains that Beis Shamai is afraid that on Yom Tov the person will not find the birds he prepared fit for a Yom Tov meal, and since he prepared no other birds, he will not eat, and refrain from Simchas Yom Tov.

Rashi at beginning of the Amud perhaps learns like the Re'ah, that since it is common for a person to change his mind, the verbal Hachanah of the birds is not a complete Hachanah. Why, though, is it not a complete Hachanah? His statement clearly designated the birds for use on Yom Tov. It is only in his heart that he is uncertain, and the principle of "Devarim sh'b'Lev Einam Devarim" teaches that the thoughts in one's heart do not override the words that one speaks! How can it be that it is not Muchan if he declared that it is?

Rashi therefore explains that when he says, "This bird and that bird I am going to take," he is including in his words a condition and is actually saying, "I hereby prepare this bird *because* I am going to take it." If he ends up not taking it, then that bird was never prepared (because his condition -- that he take it -- was not fulfilled). In that case, the bird that he decided not to use will retroactively lose its Hachanah because his condition was not fulfilled. This is what Rashi means when he says that it becomes Muktzah retroactively -- as a result of the lack of fulfillment of one's condition. This is also what Rashi means when he says that one moved the bird "for nothing," i.e. not in a permitted fashion, as he originally thought he was moving it, but unjustly; since he did not fulfill the condition of using it on Yom Tov, the Hachanah was annulled retroactively.

Why, though, does Rashi explain differently later and say that Beis Shamai prohibits it because it is "Tiltul she'Lo l'Tzorech," unnecessary handling?

The Gemara at that point thinks that Beis Shamai does not hold of Bereirah, as the Gemara explains. Therefore, Rashi had no choice but to give another explanation, not based on Bereirah. The first explanation utilizes the principle of Bereirah, in that one is able to determine retroactively that the birds are not Muchan. However, the Gemara concludes that there is no proof whether or not Beis Shamai holds of Bereirah (because the Mishnah which the Gemara cited as a proof is not actually discussing Bereirah), and therefore Rashi's explanation earlier, based on Bereirah, remains the more acceptable explanation for why Beis Shamai prohibits moving the birds. (M. Kornfeld; see also BIGDEI YOM TOV for a similar approach.)


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